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Kasumigaura Marathon 2016

When \\\\\\\"blustery\\\\\\\" wasn\\\\\\\'t even the right word. Read the race report here!

31st Marathon and my 6th Consecutive GCAM. Race report here.

 

Entries For The Gold Coast Airport Marathon 2017 Are Open!

It’s that time of the year again, and entries for the 2017 Gold Coast Airport Marathon (GCAM17) are open now! The official website has all the details. Happening the first weekend of July, it’s basically a week full of running on the Gold Coast (GC) with not only the Half and Full Marathons on Sunday, there’s the shorter distances on Saturday. The information on various categories can be found here.

While early bird fees run until April 2017, you should really start looking for best deals in flight tickets, and accommodation options. If you’ve a group of 20 and above, it makes sense to go by way of group registration to enjoy discounts on registration fees. Details on group registration here.

So what are your traveling options to the Gold Coast?

  1. Self plan
  2. Travel package by Holiday Travel & Tours

More on the 2 options below. But first, some tips if you’re traveling to the GC for the first time.

Airline
The most direct way to GC from Malaysia is via Air Asia X. Flight from KLIA2 takes approximately 7 hours 40 mins. You’ll arrive at the Gold Coast Airport (the title sponsor!) in Coolangatta, located just 40 minutes away from Surfers Paradise.

A mix of independent and tour package travelers at KLIA2 prior to boarding.

Packing
If you’re going to be staying in an apartment, you’ll be happy to know that apartments on the GC are, more often than not, fully furnished – kitchen, utensils, washer, dryer, etc. So, you really don’t have to pack too much. What you need to pack on top of your running gear and 2 sets of apparels are sun block, hat, sunglasses, and camera! Oh, do bring along some old race tees for layering before the race start. These you can remove minutes before the gun goes off – they’re collected and washed before being donated to charities.

Part of the GCAM16 group which traveled on the Holiday Travel & Tours package. This was taken upon arrival at the Race Pack collection and Expo.

Time difference
GC is 2 hours ahead on Malaysia on the clock during the winter.

Sunrise/Sunset
6:30am/5pm during the winter. Start your morning runs at 6am to catch the sunrise!

Temps
I’ve not experienced anything colder than 8 Celcius in my 6 years there. It gets cooler up in the mountains (yes, GC isn’t just only about the beaches and theme parks). Highest temps during the day are around 18-22 Celcius. Weather’s usually dry in the winter but 2016 has been wet a day after the marathon. It gets warm under the sun and UV levels are high so be sure to wear a hat, sunglasses and have sunscreen applied.

Food
A wide variety, including Halal food. Surf and turf, Middle Eastern, Japanese, Korean and Thai and even Malaysian are easily found in town. I love the take-away options available at the local supermarkets like Coles and Woolsworth though. You’ll see what I mean when you’re there. Take-aways allow you to save a little and besides, you can have a potluck back at the apartment. My family and I enjoyed the fresh seafood at Peter’s Fish Market so much we went there a couple of times when we visited this year. I’m looking forward to checking out the much-touted Chevron Island Seafood after the race!

Shopping
I’m not that much of a shopper but other than the usually touristy trinkets, the newly expanded Harbour Town Premium Outlet offers an extensive variety of brands. It’s located quite near to Surfers Paradise and if you’ve rented a car, it’s even closer to get to.

The friendly folks at Harbour Town gave us a nice welcome back in 2015. Be sure to drop by the Visitor Centre to pick up discount vouchers, complimentary coffee/tea and wifi when you’re there.

Getting Around
Plenty of options. There’s the G:Link tram which runs through up and down the coast, covering the major spots. Surfside buses ply the rest of the areas. If you’re in a group, it make sense to rent a car. Not only is it an affordable option, with a car you’ll be able to explore the beautiful highlands, beaches north and south of Surfers with greater flexibility. Rentals are available right from the airport. Con-x-ion airport shuttle are available for pre-booking, if you’re an independent traveler.

Surfside bus to Harbour Town.

Traveling Options

The travel group was ferried to brunch upon arrival before heading to the expo.

The self-plan option is pretty self explanatory. Basically a DIY and offers the most flexible schedule, it allows you to stay where you like, plan your own itinerary and extend your stay – all according to your budget. GC is easy enough to do all the above and information is plenty on the Internet.

First-timers on a limited time, may want someone to make the call for them. If that’s you, Holiday Travel & Tours is again offering that option for you. On top of the standard packages, do check with them on discounted fares for park entrances,  rides and more. Here’s the link to download the brochure. According to the brochure, the Thursday night flight to the GC has been designated the Gold Coast Airport Marathon flight, with fun and games planned on-board!

And Finally….
Now, if your mind’s made up to run GCAM17, you really need to add yourself to the GCAM17 Team -Malaysia-In-Training Facebook Page here. We’ve kicked off some weekend short runs, all very low key since it’s the holiday period. Things will move up a notch or two when the new year kicks off. The team look to welcoming new and old friends to the group because it’s always more fun and motivating to train in a group, especially for the weekend long runs and track repeats. We’ve over the years added so much information to that page that will hopefully help you plan your stay and race while you’re there. Be sure to also click on the “Files” tab on the same page – that’s where we’ve put up all the pertinent links to tourist hotspots, hotels and fully-furnished and equipped apartments which we’ve stayed before. Malaysia had one of the highest overseas participation during GCAM16 – over 260! If you’ve questions, anything at all, be sure to ask on the page. We’ll be very happy to answer them, like how you can actually run the 10K (or for your kids, the Kids Dash or 5.7K) on Saturday as a fun run before the main event (Half or Full Marathon) the next day!

A Shake Down Run is planned on Saturday July 1st evening. This is sort of like a meet-up photo session, followed by a short 3-5K run to get the mind and body into performing their best. Of course, if you’ve any last minute questions, some of us veterans will be on hand to answer them. We will post details of the Shake Down Run in the same FB page nearer the event.

Before our 3K Shake Down run on Saturday evening.

GCAM on Social Media
Plenty of info, trivia, photos/videos and running tips shared on the event sites below.

That’s a bit much info for now but rather than rambling on, it’s time for you to commit to GCAM17, and make all the necessary arrangements for the July runcation. If you’re like me, marathon training for the first half of the year is easier than the second. Work has a tendency to develop into a deluge from August right up to December. There’s, of course, the unpredictable Quarter 3 and 4 weather too which may throw a spanner into the training.

Many PRs, sub-4s and a BQ performance in GCAM16.

With that, the team and I hope to see you for training soon and over at the Gold Coast!

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